Changes in society mean that many family members now live miles apart, in different towns and cities, sometimes even different countries. Caring for someone – or sharing the care of someone – who lives a long way from you brings its own set of challenges, worries and frustrations.
If you are involved in caring for someone from a distance, you will not be able to drop everything and travel miles every time there is a minor crisis.
Arranging support from social services
Contact your local council and arrange for your relative/friend to have their needs assessed. If you can be there when the assessment takes place, mention that you are caring from a distance and cannot provide regular care for the person. This will be taken into account when the person’s support plan is determined.
The right kind of housing
Living in the right place is crucially important. Someone who is struggling to live alone in a two-storey house with an upstairs bathroom might get along fine in supported accommodation. If not, it might be time to consider residential care, perhaps closer to your own home.
If the person wants to remain living at home, you might consider some housing adaptations.
There are many ways in which technology can help with the challenges of distance caring.
Telecare and community alarms will give you peace of mind when you cannot be there, and daily living aids will help the other person to live independently.
Carers UK has lots of advice about equipment and technology.
If you are part of a wider group of family or friends who are helping to care for someone, then social media can help you keep up-to-date and share messages.
The Jointly app offers a simple, practical way for families to share information and co-ordinate the caring role among those who are helping to look after a loved one.
Sharing the caring role
Ask if anyone else is willing to share the caring role, even if it’s just a neighbour popping in once or twice a week to help with some domestic tasks. Depending on their individual circumstances and how many hours they care, they might even be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.
When you are caring from a distance, it’s essential to consider what might happen in the event of an emergency. Travelling can be very tiring and if you are unwell, you might be unable to cope with the journey.